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Quebec police arrest Edmonton man, recover antiquity valued at $1.2-million

An employee from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts walks past a painting entitled "Man Dressed as Bat" from painter Peter Doig on January 16, 2014.

christinne muschi The Globe and Mail

Police have arrested an Edmonton man and recovered an antiquity valued at $1.2-million that had been stolen in a heist from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Provincial police said at a press conference in Montreal on Thursday that the unidentified 33-year-old Alberta man allegedly bought the artifact, a fifth-century BC Persian bas-relief, for a few hundred dollars.

"It was a really ridiculous amount of money," said Capt. Richard Gauthier of the Sûreté du Québec. He said the buyer was probably unaware of its real worth.

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The man faces charges of possession of stolen goods.

The recovered item, along with a first-century Roman Empire artifact, was stolen in 2011 during a daytime theft from the Montreal museum.

The Roman Empire piece of a man's head in marble remains missing.

The recovery of the valuable Persian artifact was announced by a joint Sûreté du Québec and RCMP task force. Both pieces had been part of the museum's permanent collection and stolen during operating hours.

The thief, who was able to pocket the small-sized artifacts, remains at large.

Police seized the Persian artwork from the man's Edmonton home on Jan. 22.

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About the Author

Ingrid Peritz has been a Montreal-based correspondent for The Globe and Mail since 1998. Her reporting on the plight of Canadians suffering from the damaging effects of the drug thalidomide helped victims obtain federal compensation and earned The Globe and Mail a National Newspaper Award, Canadian Journalism Foundation award, and the Michener Award for public service. More

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